US river cruising thriving among boomers

Diana and David Carlson have travelled around the world over the years: Egypt, South Africa, China, Prague, Berlin and more.

“My husband’s getting to the point where he says, ‘I just don’t like those long plane trips,'” says Diana Carlson, 73. That’s fine with her. “I say, ‘OK, we’ll go on the boat again.’ I’ll go on it as often as I can.”

By “the boat,” Carlson means the American Queen, a six-deck paddle-wheeler that plies the Mississippi River as the flagship of the American Queen Steamboat Company. For all the Southern California couple’s globe-trotting, they’ve sailed nearly 20 times with the cruise line that’s devoted to US rivers.

The Carlsons are exactly the kind of customers the operators of American river cruise lines want to reach: They have the time and ability to travel, an interest in exploring US sites and – importantly – they know that river cruising exists in the United States.

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